All Book Reviews by Genre: Graphic Novels/Manga

Illegal
Colfer, Eoin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ebo is a boy from Ghana with a tough life. First his parents have died and he has to live with his alcoholic uncle. Then his sister left Africa for the nearly impossible journey to Europe, seeking a better life. Then Ebo’s brother does the same thing. Ebo refuses to be left behind, so he too embarks on the dangerous journey. He travels across his country, then through a desert, and then across something even more dangerous the ocean. Can Ebo find his brother and overcome the dangers of his journey?

With tons of adventures in this past and present story, readers will find out what it was like for refugees to try and get to Europe. Millions of people attempt the journey, but only some survive. People died of many things--sickness, dehydration, old age, drowning, and even getting killed by others are just some of problems they face.

This is a stand alone graphic novel with a great story and wonderful illustrations. It really showed me how hard it was to live in Ghana and how difficult it was to make the journey to Europe. Besides all the ways a person might die, they also could be sent back for not having the proper immigration paperwork.

This is one of my favorite books that I have read in the last few months. Even if you aren’t normally a fan of graphic novels, I would recommend reading it to gain insight about the migrant crisis around the world.

Reviewer's Name: Ben C.
Book Review: Illegal
Colfer, Eoin
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ebo’s brother Kwame is missing. But Ebo knows where he’s gone: to find their sister. Life in Libya is hard, so Ebo and Kwame’s sister, Hannah, left and promised to send back money once she was installed in Europe with a new job and more money. But since she left, Ebo and Kwame have heard nothing from her. So when Ebo wakes up one morning and Kwame is gone, Ebo knows he must go after him. What follows is the harrowing, heartbreaking story of Ebo’s journey through dangerous cities, deserts, and the ocean.

Wow. Look, I cry a lot, and am no stranger to crying whilst reading. But this book made me sob. Like, uncontrollable tears running down my face. The refugee story is often a sad and intense one, and Ebo’s is certainly no exception. And then, when you think about Ebo’s story in the context of it being a real thing happening to real people in this world that we all share, and the US is actively turning away people in similar if not the same situation, well, its depressing. But importantly so. One must also consider the fact that thousands of children, thousands of people are dying, and no one seems to care. It’s a deeply sad book that will cause lots of introspection, but for me, that’s a good thing. This is an issue that needs more attention.

The stunning artwork added to the impact. Seeing Ebo’s expressions - the heartbreak, loss, and hope playing out across his face – made what was already an intense, powerful story all the more affecting. I loved pretty much everything about this book, and I hope you take the time to read it. 5 stars.

Thanks to Baker & Taylor, Netgalley and Sourcebooks for the free paper and electronic advance copies, which I received in exchange for an honest review. Illegal is available now – put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Sisters
Teigemeier, Raina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This graphic novel is about a girl named Raina who couldn't wait to be a big sister but once Amara is born she realizes that sisterhood isn't the sunshine-rainbow-cakewalk she thought it would be. This book explores the big sister little sister relationship like no other book has done before. Family love, life lessons, and learning what it truly is to be sisters. Amazing #1 New York Times bestselling, Eisner Award-winning book that's definitely worth taking the time to read.

Reviewer's Name: Francesca J
Avis Dolphin
Frieda Wishinsky
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This book is about the sinking of the Lusitania. If you’re looking for major action of the sinking, this isn’t the right book for you. It takes about two pages for the ship to be under water. The majority of the book talks about the main character’s mild drama and doesn’t focus on the ship itself. It’s a good book, but when I read it, I was disappointed in the lack of focus on the sinking since I knew little about the Lusitania. If you’re a fan of Titanic, you’ll be pleased to know there are quite a few references to the ship. Although the book is short, the characters are easy to enjoy. I personally liked the professor. The imagination can run wild because the author does a great job describing the book’s events. I recommend this book for ages 11+ because it is a more serious topic. I rate Avis Dolphin a 3-star because it was a good read, but I don’t think I’ll ever choose to read it again.

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S
El Deafo
Bell, Cece
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book is full of so much character it's so hard to stop reading, and it's also an easy book to read because it's a graphic novel.This book tells so much story of this girls problems she goes through, the pros and the cons.

Reviewer's Name: Delaney
Liu, Majorie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I chose this book because comics are a type of novel that I find interest in. This is a fantasy book that takes place where monsters and humans are divided after a war, and monsters who are caught by humans on the other side are used to be sold and experimented on. The main character, Maika, goes on the other side in search for hope of her mother. This is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys comics.

Reviewer's Name: Mona H
House of Women
Goldstein, Sophie
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

What happened to the last expedition? Was the last expedition male? Where are the male of the local species? Is Jael the only male in the area? Has he created his own harem of native women, driving off the males with his pheromones?

I found this book on a must read list from NPR for 2017. It looked interesting and had a fascinating synopsis and review. I read it, liked the drawings and wanted to know who “Jael” was from the story. The last interaction between the women is about his criminal history. Aphra asks Sarai what it says and she responds with “It doesn’t matter.” However, I suspect it does, I think it had a direct impact on everything that occurred in the story. The author did a good job of “setting the hook” with that closure. Considering the dream fish sequence, I think it was intentional. As I reread the story a few more times, elements that seemed trivial began to come together and illuminate more of the story. I think it is worth a read, or several reads.

Reviewer's Name: Monique Baker
One Trick Pony
Hale, Nathan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In this creative, futuristic graphic novel all technology has been stolen by a species known as the Pipers. When a young girl and two of her friends stumble into a hidden cache of robots, they become the targets of a wild chase. This book is exciting, unique, and includes a battle in outerspace! Recommended for grades 3-6.

Reviewer's Name: Jenny G.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur BFF Vol. 1
Montclare, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Lunella Lafayette is smart. Really really smart -- so much so that her parents and middle school classmates struggle to understand her. And as a latent Inhuman exposed to the terragen mists she should start expressing some kind of superpowers any day now. Nothing that being telepathically linked to a giant red Tyrannosaurus won't fix, right? This all ages comic works as the author has genuine respect for the voice and age of its protagonist. While the circumstances of this pairing are a little fantastic, the friendship is very real. This book is a great introduction to the wonder of comics for younger readers, and a great reminder for older ones.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca O.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe!
North, Ryan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you have not been following the all-ages meta-fiction joy that is the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, this stand-alone is a great place to start.
Armed with her trademark pluck, empathy, and more references to the Marvel Comics Universe history than you can shake a stick at, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl faces her most formidable challenge yet: herself! (Well, sort
of.) Great fun from start to finish.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca O.
Library Wars: Love & War Volume 1
Yumi, Kiiro
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I loved this series. It's a really good imagination of censorship taken to the extreme. Kiiro Yumi really put thought into the character dynamic and the resolution of the series was highly satisfying. In a distant future, the Japanese government starts to ban books they find bad for society, so the libraries must put together a military force in order to defend the right to information. Kasahara has been dreaming of joining this task force since she was in high school and a mysterious member of this task force stopped the Media Betterment Committee from taking a book from her. She dubs this man her "prince" and is on a quest to find him through the Library Forces. The main romances in this story are sweet, but are subtle enough to not totally take over the storyline. I suggest you read this book if you like strong female characters, romance, and fight scenes. Nothing is really explicit in the book, though there are scenes where characters get injured.

Reviewer's Name: Totoro
Ghosts
Telgemeier, Raina
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

I really liked this book! I have read a few of Raina's books before, so I found this one and said why don't i try it!

This book is about a girl and her sister, and they have to move to a new city. At this town their are rumors about ghosts.These ghosts live at one special place in the town called, Bahia de la luna. Maya Cat's sister really wants to meet one,though Cat DOES NOT. One year every year the people of that town have a celebration. Remembering their loved one that died. All of the ghosts celebrate with the people. Those people are able to speak to their loved ones and catch on with their beloveds. Maya seeing that they celebrate this makes her think, maybe these ghosts aren't so bad.

Reviewer's Name: Noa
Attack on Titan Vol. 1
Isayama, Hajime
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Ever since I discovered this series, I've been hooked. The story is just so interesting and unique. I mean, how many books do you read about man-eating giants destroying society and teenage soldiers fighting them. Not only is the plot interesting, the characters are very well developed and their backstories are very interesting. That being said, there aren't too many backstories, because most of them are dead, but still, the main characters' backstories are really creative and awesome. I have read these books so many times and I am still hooked, even though it sometimes makes me mad (because the characters I like all keep dying). 10/10. Highly recommend if you are okay with violence, blood, guts, and disturbing images.

Reviewer's Name: Eremin
Octavia E. Butler's Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Duffy, Damian
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Octavia Butler's Kindred broke so much ground both as a flawless time travel novel and visceral retelling of the slave experience. As an African-American author writing science fiction, her body of work changed the field while winning its top honors -- the Nebula and Hugo awards -- and the author herself was awarded a MacArthur genius grant. This graphic novel is an excellent introduction to her work, and is highly recommended for YA and adult readers alike.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca
Batman: The Long Halloween
Loeb, Jeph.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Batman: The Long Halloween is a New York Times Best-Selling Classic written and drawn by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. This story is one of the best Batman stories, it will keep you reading with cliffhangers at the end of every chapter. Batman: The Long Halloween tells the story of Batman’s fight against a serial killer named “Holiday.” This enemy kills mostly members of the Falcone family, a wealthy family led by a crimelord trying to hold on to a crumbling empire. The Holiday Killer commits his crimes on every holiday, starting on Halloween and ending on Halloween a year later. The book is action packed, the art is great, and the story is a classic and must read for any Batman fan.

Reviewer's Name: Mason H.
Awards:
Batman: A Death in the Family
Starlin, Jim
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Batman: A Death In The Family is a graphic novel written by authors and artists Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman, and many others. Batman: A Death In The Family is an insightful, action packed read, with a story that has become a groundbreaking classic in the vast history of Batman.
Batman and and his sidekick Jason Todd are doing their duty to their city and fighting crime to protect others, but Batman comes to notice that Robin has become reckless, with not a care about killing. Due to his behavior, Batman puts Jason off duty. On a quest to find his mother in the meantime, Robin crosses paths with Batman, who is in the same location, but for a different purpose. Together they help each other with their missions, but it all comes at a cost in an action packed ending that leaves Batman with a burden on his shoulders that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Batman: A Death In The Family kept me reading for hours. The pages are packed with dialogue and action, but the story seems to take its time. The writting and art are brilliany and the twists and challenges Batman face are sure to make you confused in the start, but it all makes sense in the end.
The first and main section of the book is both sorrowful, yet some parts can make you laugh, and the after story provides a change of voice in the book.
This story is a must-read for Batman fans and a great addition to any collection or book shelf. I am glad a read it and I am excited to read the next chapter in the story of Batman.

Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: Mason H.
Grand Guignol Orchestra Vol. 1
Yuki, Kaori
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Volume one of the Grand Guignol Orchestra was a wild ride. Set in a world where people have begun to be transformed into monstrously possessed doll creature called Guignols, the Unofficial Royal Orchestra travels to allegedly only bring relief to the remaining civilians by performing for them, but they do so much more. The story begins when the Orchestra comes to a town where there are no children besides the crippled young earl, the son of the man who hired the musicians.

I loved this manga because it was a taste of an idea renowned into something new. The character development was so slight, and yet I felt as if I'd known the Orchestra for years. There was an excellent balance of adventure, fear, and comedy implemented into the story, and the only reason I do not rate Grand Guignol Orchestra a 5/5 is because I've only gotten to experience one novel so far. This is an incredible manga for those wanting something frightening and tense, but desiring strong characters as well as a great story.

Reviewer's Name: Julia I. R. H.
Faith Vol. 1: Hollywood & Vine
Houser, Jody
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Faith and the Renegades have just saved the world from a supervillain - but that fight didn't come without a price. The Renegades have now split up and are doing their own thing. Faith's ex, for example, is now starring in his very own reality tv show! Faith herself is posing as a Buzzfeed (ok, Zipline) writer by day whilst saving Los Angeles as a hero named Zephyr by night. Can she juggle a job and saving the city all by her lonesome?

I came into this comic without having read anything at all about the Renegades, and that was fine - you definitely didn't need prior knowledge of the Renegades to enjoy this comic. Faith was extremely likable; I think most readers, especially those of the lady-type variety, would see something of themselves in Faith. The real draw here, for me at least, was that Faith was not just a woman superhero, but a fat woman superhero which, needless to say, is something of a rarity. I really liked the way her body size was treated in the book. Faith is comfortable in her own skin and unapologetic about that to the point where her body size wasn't even really a thing. Which, in this reader's opinion, is how it should be.

The story itself was your standard superhero fare. After an initial mission of SAVING PUPPIES, Faith finds herself looking for other, possibly powered children that have been disappearing from the city. The artwork was really good, though I found it to be quite similar to that of other hero focused graphic novels. Faith has these amazing fantasy/dream sequences, and I preferred the art in those sequences to the main art as it was a bit more whimsical and different. I preferred the cover artist (look at that cover - so cute!) to both.

This would be a great intro to the superhero comic world for those that are interested but haven't given it a try. Otherwise, it was nothing special, but if the superhero genre is your thing, I don't think you'll be disappointed. 3 stars - I liked it!

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Awards:
The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act
Gillen, Kieron
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This series is really a must-read for fans of modern fantasy, mythology and pop culture. The Wicked + the Divine takes place in a world where a phenomenon called the Recurrence occurs every 90 years, causing a Pantheon of twelve deities from across human cultures to awaken within the bodies of young adults, granting them tremendous superhuman abilities. They will be loved, they will be hated, but two years after awakening, they will all be dead. The year is 2014 and the Recurrence has come again, and this new crop of gods blurs the line between the way deities were worshipped in ancient times and the way humankind worships its popular icons in the modern day. Though they are reincarnations of figures from antiquity- Lucifer, Woden, and Minerva, for example- their personas and appearances invoke modern musical icons like Daft Punk, David Bowie and Prince, and their worshippers stalk their instagram feeds and attend sold-out concert-like performances of their miracles.

However, all is not divine within the ranks of the Pantheon. Skeptics dismiss their claims of "godhood" and "miracles" as delusions, hallucinations or special effects, and point to the last Recurrence - which took place during the 1920s - as the product of the same sort of hoax as those performed under the umbrella of Spiritualism during that era. And, these new gods have all the hormones, the petty selfishness and the capriciousness of the teenagers and young adults they used to be, only now they have superhuman powers at their fingertips, and the weight of the knowledge that for all their strength they will all die before two years have passed. The mysterious goddess Ananke, who exists outside the cycle of the Pantheon, is the only being who seems to understand the forces at work behind the Recurrence, and she acts as something of a guiding light for the gods, though a cryptic and guarded one, at best. Into this tumultuous mix enters Laura, our narrator, a god-obsessed superfan who idolizes the Pantheon to the point of distraction. Though Laura wants nothing more in this life than to be a god herself, she settles for attending their tours, buying their merchandise and following them obsessively on social media, getting as close to them as she possibly can. That is, until she unexpectedly befriends the young Lucifer at a concert and finds herself suddenly drawn into the beautiful, deadly and miraculous world of intrigue that surrounds the members of the Pantheon.

This comic is incredible, both in terms of its writing and worldbuilding, and its art, which is both stunning and incredibly consistent. It is also a wonderful example of diversity and inclusiveness in what is, essentially, a superhero comic - Laura is part of a loving biracial family, Lucifer is a polyamorous, genderfluid woman who is a dead ringer for Bowie, and representation of queer characters, women and people of color abound. I collect this comic religiously (hah!) in both its individual issues and its trades, and I really cannot recommend it enough. However, when our rating says M/Mature, we MEAN it. While there isn't much in the way of graphic sexual content, there is some gore, frequent adult language, and a whole lot of adult situations.

Reviewer's Name: Matt H.
Awards:
Swamp Thing: Volume 1, Raise Them Bones
Snyder, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Swamp Thing: Volume One, Raise Them Bones" is the beginning of Scott Snyder (author) and Yanick Paquette (illustrator)’s visceral, mythic run on the comic, which I recommend heartily to fans of horror/grotesque gothic stories.

Detailing the eternal conflict between the Green (plant life), the Red (animal life) and the Rot that would consume and twist everything, Snyder’s interpretation of Swamp Thing is full of haunting imagery and interesting worldbuilding. Later on, the comic run is taken over by Charles Soule, who does a lovely (albeit very different) job carrying on the story.

For now, though – renowned botanist Alec Holland has been chosen by the Green to shed his humanity and become their knight. Will he go willingly? And what will become of him now that he’s been claimed, whatever he chooses to do?

Warnings:

-- This book is suited for older audiences, in my opinion, and definitely not children. The illustrations are often what one might call “graphic.” Be warned. It is something of a horror comic.
-- If you like this first volume and keep on with the series, just know that during the Rotworld arc, "Swamp Thing" crosses over with Jeff Lemire’s "Animal Man." It may behoove readers to pick up "Animal Man: Volume Three, Rotworld," at least, in order to get a complete look at the story. :)

Reviewer's Name: Kate

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